The Real Neat Blog Award

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Heather Jackson and Robin Rivera at WriteOnSisters.com have nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award! Thank you so much, ladies! WriteOnSisters.com is one of my favorite writing resource blogs. So, regardless of whether you write novels, short stories, or flash fiction, I urge you to check it out at your next chance. 😉

Accepting the Real Neat Blog Award is pretty simple. You answer five questions posed by the person / blog who nominated you, then nominate four or five others and ask them five new questions. Let’s see what Heather and Robin wanted to know!

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Time Flies!: January 2015

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[EDIT: Somehow I forgot there were 31 days in January, so this is accidentally going up one day early. *oops*]

No, that’s not possible. Another month hasn’t gone by yet. I’m still trying to get used to writing 2015 instead of 2014!

That pretty much sums up how I feel as I write Time Flies!: January 2015. The first month of this year went by way too quickly – and it was an awfully stressful month offline, which stalled my blog-writing for a while. I was forced to put articles for this site on the backburner just so I could meet my deadlines for my outside columns. So… yeah, January 2015 was a blur. Things look like they’re starting to slow down, though, so I’ve been able to start catching up and cross off items on my “to-do” list.

Let’s be more positive from here on, starting with the past month’s updates: Continue reading

Time Flies: December 2014 Edition

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Looking for this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up? It’s here – under a new name!

The Freelance Article Round-Up series will now be known as Time Flies!, a monthly wrap-up article that… well, does exactly what the Freelance Article Round-Ups had been doing. Originally, the round-ups were designed to share my columnist projects at A Bibliophile’s Reverie, Grub Street, and DIY MFA. Then I started including other happenings related to writing, this blog, and life in general. And so the round-ups evolved into something more – and a couple weeks ago, I realized the title didn’t fit the purpose anymore. What do you think of the new name? And the new logo? 🙂

Let’s jump right in with this month’s updates: Continue reading

Final Trailer for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

I couldn’t resist. The final Hobbit film trailer was released yesterday, and since it’s the film I’ve been looking forward to most this year… well, I’m going to be brief in my fangirliness:

It’s so darkly, epicly (or epically?), heartbreakingly AWESOME. Makes me so excited for what’s in store and seeing it all play out. Can’t wait for December 17th! 😀

What do you think of the trailer? Are you planning to see the final Hobbit film next month? 

 

Mini-Review Monday: David Arkenstone – “Celtic Garden”

David Arkenstone Celtic Garden

David Arkenstone – Celtic Garden

Rating: 4 /5

I stumbled on David Arkenstone’s newest album Celtic Garden when I heard a couple songs at a gift shop several weeks ago. With just that sampling, I was transported to another land by the American new age musician’s blend of rustic folk music, enchanting vocal and instrument solos, and cinematic inspiration. Celtic Garden wasn’t available for purchase then (the store had a pre-release promo copy), so I pre-ordered it from Amazon as soon as I got home. And after repeat listens to the CD, I’m still under its spell.

Celtic Garden pays tribute to celebrated Celtic and new age artists such as Loreena McKennitt, Enya, and Celtic Woman, as well as the music from the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films. Half of the tracks are instrumentals highlighted by violinist David Davidson, whose style ranges from playful (“Misty Morning”) to forlorn (“Nocturne”) to sweeping (“Misty Mountains / Song Of The Lonely Mountain”). His “duet” with Susan Craig Winsberg on flute and pennywhistle for “The Voice” evokes images of folk dancing and Ireland’s greenest meadows. The other half of Celtic Garden floats on the breeze of Charlee Brooks’ voice. She’s not a power singer by means, but that’s not what Celtic music is about. Instead, Charlee uses her gentle talents to charm the listener (“All Souls’ Night”), pray for compassion (“Deliver Me”), and pine for a distant lover (“Only An Ocean Away”).

Celtic Garden soothes me and speaks to my inner child. It entices me to relax, sing along, do yoga, even dance! (Yes, I’ve actually followed the urge and danced to this CD a few times!) I do, however, have a couple nitpicks. First, a couple tracks don’t come across as truly Celtic (“Misty Morning” sounds more like a nautical / pirate jaunt than an Irish jig, while “Safe and Sound” retains too much of the country twang from Taylor Swift’s original). Also, while the cover of Annie Lennox’s LOTR classic “Into The West” is well done, the song requires more power and emotion than Charlee’s voice can offer. Nonetheless, I’m thrilled that my recent gift store shopping led me to discovering David Arkenstone’s Celtic Garden. And I’m sure I’ll be visiting this breathtaking musical Eden time and time again.

Highlights: “Misty Mountains / Song of the Lonely Mountain,” “All Souls’ Night,” “The Voice”

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Deciding whether to buy Celtic Garden from Amazon? Let me know whether you found my review helpful by clicking here and selecting either “Yes” or “No.”

Coming Soon: No new CDs to review at the moment, so it might be a few weeks before the next Mini-Review Monday. However, stay tuned for a new Chronicling The Craft, as well as a special post in April that’s dedicated to National Poetry Month!

Chronicling The Craft: 35,000 Words

A Music Playlist for My Work-In-Progress

Chapters In Progress: 10

Chapters Completed: 8

Somehow I’ve developed a bad habit of forgetting how chaotic life can be during the end-of-year holidays. And writing a book amidst the stress of work, Christmas shopping, baking, braving winter weather, and going to or planning parties… Well, who has time for all that? (Ha ha!) So, due to a combined lack of time and concentration, it’s taken from before mid-November to January 2 to write another 5,000 words. But that’s OK. Forward progress is forward progress, especially during one of the busiest times of the year. And progress is always worth celebrating. Continue reading